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Ballack inspires Leverkusen to win over Hannover

Ballack inspires Leverkusen to win over Hannover

Michael Ballack inspired Bayer Leverkusen to a 2-0 home win over Hannover in the Bundesliga to trim the gap on leader Borussia Dortmund to eight points on Friday.
Leverkusen moved five points clear of third-placed Hannover.
Dortmund has played one game less and can go 11 clear if it beats Wolfsburg away on Saturday.
Ballack _ back in the starting lineup for the first time in four months after recovering from injury _ had 94 touches of the ball, more than anyone else.
Arturo Vidal had Leverkusen's first chance in the 9th minute when his low shot from the edge of the area skimmed past the post.
The Chilean scored in the 21st with a crisp shot from 16 meters (yards), after the Hannover defense failed to clear from Stefan Kiessling. Vidal created the initial chance for Kiessling after collecting a long punt forward by goalkeeper Rene Adler.
Ballack was given a defensive role in midfield where he faced Sergio Pinto _ the man who injured his knee the last time the sides met on Sept. 11 _ and he fouled him in the 22nd. Pinto returned the favor 10 minutes later.
Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes' perfectly timed run onto the pass from Gonzalo Castro allowed him tuck it past goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler into the right corner in the 42nd.
Didier Ya Konan _ Hannover's top scorer this season with 10 _ was flagged offside early in the second half when he thought he was through on goal.
Ya Konan used his speed to cut between Sami Hyypia and Stefan Reinartz in the 59th, when his shot flew over the crossbar.
Hannover continued to press ahead, and Mohammed Abdellaoue could not keep his header below the bar after a wonderful cross from Steven Cherundolo shortly afterward.
Adler produced a flying save to deny Christian Schultz with 20 minutes remaining, and Zieler bettered it at the other end moments later, when he got a hand to Renato Augusto's chipped effort at the end of a counterattack.
Zieler denied Leverkusen again late in the game, when he rushed to scoop the ball from Castro after the defender beat the offside trap.


Updated : 2021-06-23 01:22 GMT+08:00